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Why Startups?
by James Chan
@m0t0chan
www.motochan.com
james@motochan.com
Startup Career Day
Technological
Singularity
“Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” by Bill Joy for Wired
“The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology”, Ray Kurzweil
18221980s1990s2000200320062010
192 years85 million years
Digitisation & Networking are contributing to economic
growth at a pace outstripping that of Industrial Revolution.
99% of things in physical world not linked to the Internet (yet)..
1%
Industrial Revolution
A.D. 1760 A.D. 1945 A.D. 1982
Internet
A.D. 2013
Atomic, Jet & Space Age
Source: “The Global Information Technology Report 2013 - growth & jobs in a Hyperconnected World” - INSEAD-WEF collaboration
30%.. ..of global Internet revenue 40%.. ..of global Internet net income
Source: “Internet matters: The Net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs and prosperity” - McKinsey & Company
2.0b connected to Internet.. ..out of global population of 7b
>50% of world’s population live in cities.. ..out of global population of 7b
The Internet matters :: almost every vertical or industry is
either cannibalised by it, or scales with it.
At peak in 1996, 100,000+
staff, US$31B market value
wiped out, bankruptcy
13 staff & US$1B
exit to Facebook in
2012
from printed to
digital
from in-person to
online
from 1-way/
physical media to
2-way/digital
from discrete/in-
person to on-
demand/online
At peak in 2004,
60,000+ staff, 9,000
stores, bankruptcy
from in-person/physical
to card-not-present/
digital/mobile
from insecure/
untraceable/upfront to
secure/traceable/escrow
from time-limited/physical
presence/inventory cost
to always-on/digital/just-
in-time
from large pallet logistics
to loose-item forward-
reverse logistics
Typewriter to Word Processor to Cloud
and many more, moving us from...
Fixed-line to Mobile Telephony to Mobile Data Mass production to mass customisation
Career
“Startup” ?
gold, glory, girls
abject failure
it’s the journey
that counts.
you’re looking
at it backwards.
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
mentality, psyche
choice
do
DOUBT
self
organisation
or
“Startup”
exit free
idea, mission, passion
validation
GROWTH
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
do
DOUBT
mentality, psyche
choice
self
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
My Story
getting out of comfort zone
never say never/forever
neoteny
pay it forward
self-awareness
id, ego, super-ego
do
DOUBT
mentality
choice
self
My Story
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
2-time college drop-out
ran a nightclub
started the first ISP in Japan
listed a company
early investor in Flickr, last.fm, Twitter…
WOW guild founder/leader
PADI-certified instructor of instructors*
Director, MIT Media Lab*
mentality
choice
do
DOUBT
self
My Story
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
S$222,002.43
“bond breaker” &
“quitter” label
leap of faith
convincing yourself vs

naysaying by others
LUCK? GRAB IT!
mentality
choice
do
DOUBT
self
My Story
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
US$5M fund
Returned US$6.7M in 

4 years, US$12+M in

unrealised investments
Neoteny Labs
circa Jun ‘10
70+ pax in SG, VN, ID
innovation tribe in SEA; builds products, 

companies, foster communities 

& make early-stage investments.
Silicon Straits
circa Apr ‘13
VP International
GreyOrange
circa Jun ‘15
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
Failure & Loneliness
L O N E L I N E S S
Resilience
over Strength
Self-healing networks, self-
governance vs regulation,
compliance.
Pull

over Push
Search, p2p sharing, self-
paced learning vs lock-step
curriculum.
Risk

over Safety
Life/experience-based learning
vs instutition-guaranteed
competency.
Systems

over Objects
Self-healing networks, self-
governance vs regulation,
compliance.
Compasses
over Maps
Guidance, self-direction vs
teacher-led location.
Practice

over Theory
Duh...
Disobedience
over Compliance
Question authority, what-how-
why vs yes sir, yes sir, 3 bags
full sir.
Emergence

over Authority
Positive deviance vs top-down
Learning

over Education
Toolkits, maxims, process vs
certifications, degrees
“Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
Questions?
@m0t0chan
www.motochan.com
james@motochan.com
Thank you!

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Why Startups?

  • 1. Why Startups? by James Chan @m0t0chan www.motochan.com james@motochan.com Startup Career Day
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6. Technological Singularity “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” by Bill Joy for Wired “The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology”, Ray Kurzweil 18221980s1990s2000200320062010 192 years85 million years
  • 7. Digitisation & Networking are contributing to economic growth at a pace outstripping that of Industrial Revolution. 99% of things in physical world not linked to the Internet (yet).. 1% Industrial Revolution A.D. 1760 A.D. 1945 A.D. 1982 Internet A.D. 2013 Atomic, Jet & Space Age Source: “The Global Information Technology Report 2013 - growth & jobs in a Hyperconnected World” - INSEAD-WEF collaboration 30%.. ..of global Internet revenue 40%.. ..of global Internet net income Source: “Internet matters: The Net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs and prosperity” - McKinsey & Company 2.0b connected to Internet.. ..out of global population of 7b >50% of world’s population live in cities.. ..out of global population of 7b
  • 8. The Internet matters :: almost every vertical or industry is either cannibalised by it, or scales with it. At peak in 1996, 100,000+ staff, US$31B market value wiped out, bankruptcy 13 staff & US$1B exit to Facebook in 2012 from printed to digital from in-person to online from 1-way/ physical media to 2-way/digital from discrete/in- person to on- demand/online At peak in 2004, 60,000+ staff, 9,000 stores, bankruptcy from in-person/physical to card-not-present/ digital/mobile from insecure/ untraceable/upfront to secure/traceable/escrow from time-limited/physical presence/inventory cost to always-on/digital/just- in-time from large pallet logistics to loose-item forward- reverse logistics Typewriter to Word Processor to Cloud and many more, moving us from... Fixed-line to Mobile Telephony to Mobile Data Mass production to mass customisation
  • 9. Career “Startup” ? gold, glory, girls abject failure it’s the journey that counts. you’re looking at it backwards. “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
  • 10. mentality, psyche choice do DOUBT self organisation or “Startup” exit free idea, mission, passion validation GROWTH “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015
  • 11. do DOUBT mentality, psyche choice self “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015 My Story getting out of comfort zone never say never/forever neoteny pay it forward self-awareness id, ego, super-ego
  • 12. do DOUBT mentality choice self My Story “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015 2-time college drop-out ran a nightclub started the first ISP in Japan listed a company early investor in Flickr, last.fm, Twitter… WOW guild founder/leader PADI-certified instructor of instructors* Director, MIT Media Lab*
  • 13. mentality choice do DOUBT self My Story “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015 S$222,002.43 “bond breaker” & “quitter” label leap of faith convincing yourself vs
 naysaying by others LUCK? GRAB IT!
  • 14. mentality choice do DOUBT self My Story “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015 US$5M fund Returned US$6.7M in 
 4 years, US$12+M in
 unrealised investments Neoteny Labs circa Jun ‘10 70+ pax in SG, VN, ID innovation tribe in SEA; builds products, 
 companies, foster communities 
 & make early-stage investments. Silicon Straits circa Apr ‘13 VP International GreyOrange circa Jun ‘15
  • 15. “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015 Failure & Loneliness L O N E L I N E S S
  • 16. Resilience over Strength Self-healing networks, self- governance vs regulation, compliance. Pull
 over Push Search, p2p sharing, self- paced learning vs lock-step curriculum. Risk
 over Safety Life/experience-based learning vs instutition-guaranteed competency. Systems
 over Objects Self-healing networks, self- governance vs regulation, compliance. Compasses over Maps Guidance, self-direction vs teacher-led location. Practice
 over Theory Duh... Disobedience over Compliance Question authority, what-how- why vs yes sir, yes sir, 3 bags full sir. Emergence
 over Authority Positive deviance vs top-down Learning
 over Education Toolkits, maxims, process vs certifications, degrees “Why Startups?” by James Chan © 2015